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Glossary of terms from BRAIN Group, biotechnology and bioeconomy



Enzymatic agent as part of an innovative gel-based medical device for the biotherapeutic treatment of chronic wounds

Bioactive natural compounds

Used to develop products for the food, beverages, skin care, cosmetics and chemical industries

Bio-based products

Bio-based products are goods manufactured from renewable raw materials


Enzymes that act as catalysts to accelerate (bio)chemical reactions

Biocatalysts Ltd. and Biocatalysts Inc

Members of the BRAIN Group based in UK (headquarters in Cardiff, Wales) and in US (Illinois); global distributor network e.g. Korea, Australia, New Zealand. Key player in the specialty enzyme business


Concept for a biobased economy; mega-trend that encompasses the transformation from industries based on fossil raw materials to a more sustainable form of economic activity that mainly utilizes biological resources and processes


One of BRAIN’s two business segments: development and marketing of the company’s own products along the value chain

Biologization of industry

Application of biological processes in an industrial setting with the aim of creating a more sustainable economy


Technology for the sustainable processing of biomass into marketable products (e.g. food, feed, materials, chemicals) and energy (fuels, electricity, heat). Integrated biorefineries combine various such technologies with the aim of greater flexibility and cost reduction. Integrated biorefineries facilitate the use of byproducts and waste, and enable the production of high-quality products (e.g. fine chemicals) combined with low-quality products (e.g. bioenergy).


One of BRAIN’s two business segments: cooperation business established with globally operating industrial partners


Application-oriented sub-sector of biology; includes insights and methods from microbiology, genetics, biochemistry, technical chemistry and process engineering; utilizes biological processes e.g. for industrial applications


BRAIN demonstration plant for next-generation metal extraction in the areas of green and urban mining based on microorganisms. → BioXtractor

BRAIN Bioarchive

In-house collection consisting of around 53,000 comprehensively characterized microorganisms (including “chassis microorganism” strains for the development of production organisms) and the BRAIN libraries: an enzyme library, a metagenome library and a substance library with numerous isolated natural compounds (see also BRAIN libraries) → BRAIN Bioarchive

BRAIN Libraries

BRAIN Group collections of enzymes, DNA sequences or natural substances

→ Enzyme library: up to 500 isolated and pre-characterized enzymes and DNA coding for enzymes introduced into expression vectors

→ Metagenome library: screenable DNA library with metagenomes from different habitats; collection serves to identify previously uncharacterized enzymes and metabolic pathways

→ Substance library: collection of natural substances with sub-libraries of specific, well-characterized groups of substances

Bulk enzymes markets

Volume-driven mass markets for enzymes sold in large volumes. This stands in contrast with the high-margin business with specialty enzymes

Business-to-Business (B2B)

Form of the market in which the supply and rendering of services is realized by companies to companies (= business relations between at least two companies)

Circular Bioeconomy

Term derived from the fusion of the two concepts of the “bio-economy” and the “circular economy”; circular bio-economy focuses on the sustainable, resource-efficient utilization of biomass in integrated production chains (e.g. biorefineries) while simultaneously utilizing residual and waste materials; the sequential use (cascade use) of biomass resources for different purposes ensures value optimization.


Genetically identical organisms, created by natural division or reproduction, or artificially created

Circular economy

Concept for the complete recovery of raw materials utilized, beyond a commodity’s life cycle, through to new production processes; component of the bioeconomy


Alignment of companies with laws and directives, as well as voluntary codes

Development pipeline

Total number of BRAIN Group development projects for New Business/Product Development

Development projects

R&D projects of the BRAIN Group for New Business/Product Development


Deoxyribonucleic acid: biomolecule that carries genetic information (genes)


Strategic partnership initiated by BRAIN for the development of natural sweeteners and sweet taste enhancers. → DOLCE


Proteins that accelerate biochemical reactions in their function as biocatalysts; play an important role in the development of biobased products; BRAIN identifies and develops optimized enzymes and biocatalysts for complex process and application requirements


BRAIN development program for freshness and product stability utilizing natural bioactive substances; suitable for the food and feed industry, for medical products, paints, cleaning agents and other household products. → FRESCO


DNA Length of a DNA sequence, indicated by the number of base pairs (1 Giga bp = 1,000,000,000 base pairs); common metagenomics measure

GRAS status

"Generally Regarded as Safe status": declaration of safety for the use of substances (e.g. microorganisms) to manufacture foodstuffs; GRAS organisms can be utilized without restriction in biotechnological production

Green mining

Sustainable mining, e.g. ore treatment to extract gold, silver or copper using microorganisms rather than chemicals


An organism’s natural environment

High-performance microorganisms

Biotechnologically optimized microorganisms that serve as microbial “cell factories”

HTC technology

Human Tongue Cell Technology; in vitro test system based on human tongue cells, established and patented by BRAIN to test substances for their sweetening power

Industrial biotechnology

Also known as white biotechnology; drives innovation for a paradigm shift away from petroleum-based towards biological processes and bioeconomy products


All the genomic information present in all the microorganisms of a specific community


Genomic analysis of a community of organisms by gene sequencing; genetic material is extracted, sequenced and analyzed directly from environmental samples, which saves the previous cultivation of microorganisms


Microscopically small unicellular or multicellular organisms, e.g. bacteria, algae, fungi or viruses

New Business Development (NBD) at BRAIN group

Systematic further development of existing and development of new business opportunities including e.g. R&D and marketing activities

New Product Development (NPD) at BRAIN Group

R&D activities that aim to develop product candidates for the BRAIN Group’s own market offerings


Linear, sometimes ring-shaped chain of molecules consisting of two or more amino acids; long polypeptide chains are called proteins.

Product sales at BRAIN Group

Sales of products in the form of merchandise, technologies or biotechnological system solutions; can be achieved via the BRAIN Group’s direct B2B business or through joint product developments with industrial partners and corresponding licensing agreements; scalable-product business option offered by the BRAIN Group (see also R&D cooperation partnerships)


Research and development


One of several BRAIN development programs for healthier foods through salt reduction. → SALT-E


United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Specialty chemicals

Specific chemical products with a broad range of activities on which a large number of other industrial sectors depend

Synthetic Biology

Area of biology in which organisms are modified to develop new, useful abilities

Specialty enzymes market

Markets for high-margin specialty enzymes business

Stage-gate process

Standardized process model for developing product innovations with the aim of assuring process quality

Tailor-made solutions (TMS)

Dedicated contract R&D programs for the development of tailor-made solutions for industry

Urban mining

Sustainable extraction of valuable substances from secondary raw materials and waste flows in order to retain them in value chains in the long term. → BioXtractor

White biotechnology

Includes the application of modern biotechnology in industrial production processes. Chemical starting materials are converted by enzymes and cells into products suitable for further processing. Also known as industrial biotechnology

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